A pivotal week for the Premier League sees Kieran Davies look ahead to seven days of proverbial six pointers, a Battle of Britain, and a good shout for betting men.
Whether your team is top of the table, in the mix for top four, teetering in the relegation fight or just drifting in mid table, you can’t help but to love times of the season like this. Liverpool and Manchester United have been drawn against each other in a real ‘Battle of Britain’ game in the quarter finals of the Europa League. Spurs have drawn Dortmund in makes the true football lover salivate at the thought of. Leicester find themselves opening a gap with a seemingly disappointing draw against West Brom. Their rivals however, all felt defeat truly making Ranieri’s players think ‘is this really our season?’ Tottenham and Arsenal both lost in the week which makes this weekend’s North London derby even more attractive with both teams desperately needing to bounce back with a win. For Arsenal it will be the same old questions, they just don’t have that edge to go on and win a title. For Tottenham it would be the bubble bursting suggestions like all naysayers are still waiting to happen to Leicester. The early kick off at White Hart Lane really can make or break either side’s fortunes this season.
Manchester City incredibly find themselves in fourth place, ten points behind the pace setters. It was not even conceived by anyone that Pepe Guardiola could take over a side that might not even be in the Champions League. After winning the League Cup, they tasted heavy defeat at Anfield in the league and could have lost by a heavier scoreline. Adam Lallana showed up for one of his first sightings of the player Liverpool bought from Southampton. Rolling back the years, Kolo Toure put in a solid performance along with youngster John Flanagan. They face Aston Villa at home this weekend and what most including bookies will see as a home banker, their poor league form needs to turn around and the league’s basement club could be just the medicine. Leicester City keep surprising everyone, every week they sit at the summit of the table. A trip to Watford in the evening game will prove a stern test although The Hornets are finding it difficult to find the back of the net. If both sides play their normal attacking games this could be like a basketball game taking it in turns to go from end to end. Fingers crossed. Ranieri has never set this side out to play a defensive game and he has to be applauded for that.
Chelsea are now only 8 points behind fourth place and while take of Champions League spots have been dismissed months ago by the negative Jose Mourinho, with 36 points still available, isn’t outside the realms of possibility. A home game against Stoke City is a game they have to winning if anyone in West London harbours these thoughts. Another mouth watering fixture involving two in form teams is at Goodison Park where Everton take on West Ham. No doubt you all have friends who have lambasted your social media with delusions that they are now the richest club in the world. New investor they do have, net worth of £1.6b he has but that is quite small fry in the grand scheme of the mega rich clubs. Having and spending are two different things as many fans who have had their fingers burnt will attest to. On the pitch, Martinez’s side are bang in form. Bilic’s West Ham have just shot down in form Spurs and will fancy another scalp as they too close in on Manchester City in fourth place. They’ve had some big wins on the road and this will be a stern test to see if Everton can push on to that next level.
Newcastle play Bournemouth in the proverbial six pointer. A win for Eddie Howe’s side would put serious daylight between themselves and the Geordies. Some say defeat for The Magpies will see the dismissal of their manager but this late in the season that is a real kneejerk gamble. There’s no magicman out there who can come in and perform miracles, don’t make us remind you of Alan Shearer again! Southampton can push on for European qualification if they do the expected against Sunderland. Allardyce really needs to get his side picking up wins as the draws will not cut the mustard when the points are totalled at the end of the season. After a moral boosting victory against Arsenal at The Emirates, Swansea City go into their home game with Norwich bouncing! Quite the opposite to their opponents. Victory against The Canaries would see Swansea pull away from the teams in the bottom three and move a step closer to guaranteeing Premier League football next season.
Considering their inconsistent season, it is crazy to think a win at Crystal Palace and a few other results going their way, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool could still be in with a shout for the much coveted 4th place Champions League spot. After a fantastic victory over Manchester City in the week, Klopp needs to get some consistent form out of his players and claim three points against a Palace side winless in 2016. Elsewhere Liverpool fans will be hoping West Brom can do them some favours but denting the confidence and form of Manchester United at The Hawthorns. After drawing with Leicester, beating Everton, Pullis knows his side are capable of winning this one. With some ex-United players in their ranks, a home win could be a good shout for the betting man. United have had some players come to form and some youngsters steal the limelight, but can they do it on a wet and windy after at The Hawthorns?